In the NFL, players want financial security. To truly receive that security, they need a long-term contract. In regards to the Pittsburgh Steelers, they usually take care of their own in this regard. Look at the recent past and see players like Cam Heyward, Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown all receiving hefty long-term contracts to keep them happy, and in the Steel City for years to come.
Which is what makes Le’Veon Bell’s situation so precarious. The Steelers placed the franchise tag on Bell, which will pay him roughly $12 million dollars in 2017, but the hope has always been a long-term deal for the best running back in the NFL. General Manager Kevin Colbert, Art Rooney II and Mike Tomlin have all reiterated that simple fact.
Actions speak louder than words to Bell, as he took to Twitter to tell fans and the organization he will not play in 2017 under the franchise tag.
ppl can say literally whatever they wanna say...but idc, I will LITERALLY sit out the WHOLE YEAR before I decide to play on the tag!— Le'Veon Bell (@L_Bell26) April 1, 2017
Barring this being an April Fool’s joke, the message was sent loud and clear. The only problem being every member of the Steelers’ front office have said their plan is to have him with the Steelers for years to come.
Nonetheless, Bell is playing the cards which he was dealt, and that is the fact he doesn’t want to play on a one-year contract, even if it has him making more money than any other running back in 2017.
An interesting move by Bell, and as they say in the movie “Dodgeball”, “A bold strategy...let’s see if it pays off for ‘em!”
Like 2016, Bell decides to prank the media with a tweet like this. See below from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
Quality prank by Le’Veon Bell on sitting out 2017 if on tag. Double checked and it’s indeed an April Fools.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) April 1, 2017